We know that the rights and the duties of an individual are inseparable from each other, but still our Indian Constitution makers didn’t incorporate the duties in the Indian Constitution in the initial attempt. Yet, they made an inclusion for the obligations with the element of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP). It was in 1976, that the authorities thought of adding Fundamental Duties exclusively in the Indian Constitution. One of the most prominent commissions formed for the problem of inclusion of the Fundamental Duties as a distinct entity in our Indian Constitution was the Swaran Singh Committee.
About Fundamental Duties
Fundamental duties of the Indian Constitution are the ethical obligations and responsibilities for all the occupants, to facilitate an essence of harmony and patriotism in India.
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Characteristics of Fundamental Duties
1) One can categorise the fundamental duties into two categories: the moral duties and the civic duties.
- Moral Duties: The Moral duties are the ones that include obligations like esteeming the prominent ideals of the struggle for independence, who have fought relentlessly for making our country independent and liberal
- Civic Duty: Apart from that, the other ones are the civic duties that include inclusions like honouring the National figures of the nation
2) It should also be noted that the Fundamental duties incorporate such responsibilities that are deemed crucial for the Indian way of living of the people, so that they can live peacefully and in a united way in the country.
3) The reach of the fundamental duties of the Indian Constitution extends to only the Citizens of India and not people outside the country or people who don’t have Indian citizenship.
4) Just like the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) which are not enforceable by court, the Fundamental Duties too are not promptly enforceable by the court of law.
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What is the Swaran Singh Committee?
In 1976, the Congress Government established a committee which was recognized as the Swaran Singh Committee. It was established for making recommendations regarding the necessity of including the Fundamental Duties in our Indian Constitution. The necessity for including the duties was felt during the operation of the internal emergency in the entire country. It was at that crucial time period that the government decided to think about the process of including the fundamental duties in the Indian Constitution.
According to the Swaran Singh Committee, the Fundamental Duties of the citizens of India should have been incorporated as a distinct division in the Indian Constitution. The committee solely focused on the fact that the citizens of the country are not aware of their duties. It was in this crucial time that they should be aware of the duties that they should take care of, apart from the rights that are given to them.
It was the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act which gave rise to the passing of the recommendations provided by this committee. Apart from that, it even reinforced a different part to the Constitution, Part IVA. This particular part of the Constitution has laid down 10 fundamental duties (in Article 51A). Congress was of the thought process that this was a negligence on the part of the makers of the Constitution and considered that this historical mistake should be improved as soon as possible.
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Who were the Members of the Swaran Singh committee?
Sardar Swaran Singh with 11 other esteemed members, who had great knowledge about the facts and mentions, established the Swaran Singh Committee. It was Indira Gandhi, who initially initiated the idea of constructing a Commission which would research the Legislation process of the country in light of what had happened in the past and was currently going through the internal emergency.
The Swaran Singh Committee members are Sardar Swaran Singh – Chairman, S.S. Ray, VN Gadgil, BN Banerjee, Dinesh Goswami, DP Singh, CM Stephen, HR Gokhale, Rajni Patel, VA Sayed Muhammed, A.R. Antulay and Vasant Sathe. Sardar Swaran Singh in lead with these members recommended that the Duties should be incorporated as a firsterent division in the constitution of India, making people aware of their duties, along with the rights given.
What were the Recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee?
The Swaran Singh Committee gave in various proposals after thorough research of the current situation of what had happened, effects from the internal emergencies and what was ideally seen best for the citizens of India in the future course of time. In this regard, the Swaran Singh Committee proposed:
1) In the first instance, the members of the Swaran Singh Committee proposed that the duties should be included as a separate section in the Indian Constitution, like the fundamental rights of the citizens. Apart from that, it even reinforced a different part to the Constitution, Part IVA. This particular part of the Constitution has laid down as 10 fundamental duties (in Article 51A).
2) Under the Fundamental Duties, it was proposed to make an incorporation of the eight Fundamental Duties in the Indian Constitution. (which was later increased to ten, then added by the Government of India)
3) Additionally, it was also recommended that the parliament of the country should assess various distinct laws abiding the citizens of India and after considering that the penalties should be introduced, if anyone fails to conform to these legislative laws.
4) The law that focuses under the above suggestions should be out of the stretch of any kind of Judicial Review. If in cases of violation, proper actions should be taken against the individual.
5) Apart from the above-mentioned recommendations, it was also recommended that from then on the responsibility of giving money as taxes should also be deemed as compulsory and be considered as a Fundamental Duty of the citizens of the country.
Nevertheless, only the first and the second proposal were approved by the Congress Government. The rest of them were not accepted. Notably, the introduction of eight fundamental duties changed to ten fundamental duties. These ten duties were then added with the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
Despite all the objections and critiques that the Fundamental Duties has confronted, they are undoubtedly contemplated as significant for the future of the society and nation. It is necessary that there should always be some responsibilities which can be fulfilled, along with the enjoyment of the fundamental rights. The presence of the Fundamental Duties in our Indian Constitution serve as an indication for those who don’t abide by the legislations and would attempt to commit disagreeable activities, that are not good for the societal betterment of the people.